Meet the new Big Brother, same as the old Big Brother. That's essentially the point of a video advertisement by Motorola Mobility for its new Xoom tablet. The mobile device manufacturer plans to air the one-minute commercial during next Sunday's Super Bowl. (You can watch the video below.) (Also see: The imminent tablet explosion) The playful hook to the spot is Apple's legendary "1984" ad, which positioned the company and its Mac PC as a young, daring upstart challenging the drab, gray conformity of a computing world dominated by IBM and Microsoft. Now, the Xoom ad's text suggests, "2011 looks a lot like 1984...One authority...One design...One way to work...It's time for more choices." In this case, of course, the "one design" is a shot at Apple's iPad, which finally is attracting numerous competing tablets after having the field to itself for the better part of 2010. One of those is Xoom, which is slated to debut on Feb. 17 and reportedly will be priced starting at $700. As for the ad itself, I'd call it a clever idea that promised more at the beginning (a humorous shot from space of Earth wearing Apple ear buds) than it delivered. One of my colleagues said it "looks like a bad 90's video game trailer," while another said, "If I'm interpreting the ad correctly, Apple rules our soothing blue Earth with its white headphones, while Motorola is king of some kind of uninhabitable lava-planet." (A planet that apparently offers just one boring, all-caps font.) You'd think with the money Motorola Mobility saved on graphics, it could have sprung for a focus group.
Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.